COMIC REVIEW: Ultimate Comics Ultimates #12

 Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Ultimates #12 marks a turning point for the series. It is the final issue with the involvement of Jonathan Hickman, the concluding part of the ‘Two Cities, Two Worlds‘ story arc, and the hand off to incoming (and current collaborative writer) Sam Humphries, who takes the reigns of the title next month.

The story in this issue sees Tony Stark captured by the Children of Tomorrow and face-to-face with its leader, the irrepressibly evil Reed Richards. In this battle of minds, Tony and the rest of the Ultimates have to find a way to take down the super-advanced and unstoppable Children who only a few issues ago did the unexpected and wiped Washington D.C., the political center of the USA, off the face of the map.

This issue comes at the end of an exhilarating and suspenseful run by Jonathan Hickman and needless to say that expectations were high for a logical and – barring that – satisfactory conclusion to a situation with impossible odds. Unfortunately on nearly all counts Ultimates #12 falls flat.

The story’s resolution is sudden, puzzling, and downright stupid. Admittedly in comics anything often goes as long as it is well executed but, in the case of Ultimates #12, here this resolution is badly written and poorly explained. The dialogue this issue feels off and devoid of the quality lines in previous issues – and that excludes the eye-rolling “Hulk smash Stark! Hulk smash Ultimates! Hulk smash Americaaa!” line. The tone of this issue feels like the Ultimates did a 180 and went from the atmosphere of the stellar Bourne film series, to the worst examples of the James Bond series.

The art is satisfactory but the facial expressions of the characters often kill the drama that Sam Humphries and Jonathan Hickman try to write in this issue. That’s not to say that the art is all bad but at times it feels rushed and the quality shifts a few times in the space of the comic. It is evident that since the sudden departure of Esad Ribic from the title that Marvel has been clutching at straws and thrown alot of artists to fill the visual gap. With Luke Ross, Ron Garney, and Butch Guice handling different sections of the issue it isn’t surprising that the comic feels inconsistent. Colourist Matt Milla does a splendid job in tying the three different art sequences together, it’s just a shame that the story doesn’t visually hold together with the frequently shoddy writing.

All in all, Ultimate Comics Ultimates #12 is a mess. An incomprehensible mix of bad dialogue, poorly thought out plot twists and inconsistent art. If this issue marks a turning point for the series then this could be where the sudden glimmer of Mark Millar/Bryan Hitch era awesome turns into a flaming pile of Hulk’s underwear.

GS Rating: 1/5

GS Reviewer: Dean Simons

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